Where It All Began: Magic Mushroom History

Magic mushrooms have become a pretty common thing nowadays.  It has come a long since one curious soul decided to eat it. Shrooms are becoming a part of our society.  Since its breakthrough in the medical field.  But how did it even get to this point? How have magic mushrooms managed to get this far?

Magic mushrooms have a long and rich history, one that might even be hard to still trace at this point. With the help of research, more information about its history has been uncovered. Based on the discoveries, magic mushrooms have been an essential part of human life.

Right now, there’s still much to uncover with magic mushrooms. This humble piece of fungus has been instrumental in our daily lives.

Ancient History

No one knows when the first magic mushroom was discovered and eaten or who decided to do so. But scholars would agree that these dates go as far back as thousands of years and have been used worldwide.

Terence McKenna

Back then, they were already used for various purposes. Ethnobotanist Terence McKenna believed that ancient Africans used this to expand their minds. To achieve an elevated state of consciousness, psilocybin mushrooms were used. He goes on to say that it helped society’s progression. This is in connection to language, culture, and spirituality.

Magic mushroom use was not limited to areas in Africa. It was also used in several other parts of the world and also for similar purposes. From the Greeks to Siberia, shrooms were local to their land. This was used to help connect to higher powers and have hallucinogenic trips.

Even in the Americas, shrooms were known to have a role in religion and spirituality. The Aztecs believed that shrooms enabled them to speak the language of the gods. Thereby opening a line of communication with them. As a result, these magic mushrooms were called “flesh of the gods.” This is because they could help them communicate with the gods. This was not only common with the Aztecs but also with others throughout Central America.

Recent History

R. Gordon Wasson

Later on, R. Gordon Wasson helped introduce magic mushrooms to the US. Interested in the use and rituals of Native American tribes, he was able to experience it himself. The rest is history. Psilocybin history, if you will. After he published “Seeking the Magic Mushroom,” it piqued others’ interest in psychedelics. In the book, he coined the use of term magic mushroom in the US.

One man also helped in the advancement of magic mushrooms. Albert Hoffman was able to isolate the active components in these mushrooms. He then identified psilocybin and psilocin. He was able to synthesize them and sell them to a pharmaceutical company.

Another scholar was also intrigued by Wasson’s findings in his article.  Timothy Leary is a psychologist and advocate for psychedelics. He continued to look into these mushrooms more. Being fortunate to take part in a psilocybin ceremony, he was moved. In the ceremony, he had a transformative experience.  Together with one of his companions, they founded the Harvard Psilocybin Project.

Harvard University

The Harvard Psilocybin Project studied psilocybin’s effects on its subjects at Harvard University. Their subjects were graduate students of Harvard. Unfortunately, due to several issues, it was discontinued. The McKenna brothers, Terence and Dennis, also made contributions. They continued the spread of information on psychedelic mushrooms in the US. This is after having come across Psilocybe cubensis during a search for DMT.

Modern History

During the ‘50s and ‘60s, there was a crackdown on drugs and substance abuse. Despite that, psilocybin continued in history.  Even if it’s illegal, people choose to take it in secret. They use it for spiritual or religious, and even recreational purposes.

At present, psilocybin is being studied for its potential in medical treatments. Johns Hopkins has an entire center dedicated to the study of psychedelics. Also, several institutions believe that there is indeed some promise in studying psilocybin. This can help unlock many secrets about mental illness and be a cure.

The NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study has conducted research in New York. They showed its possible use as a care treatment for those with terminal illnesses.  This was done in a few sessions as shrooms were given in a controlled environment. It showed that it lessened anxiety with regard to their illness. Also, they were more open and accepting of their situation. This is compared to when they first started.

Psilocybin has also seen some use in bringing about better treatment for depression. Several studies have compared the use of psilocybin to prescribed antidepressants. These studies showed that psilocybin matched the effect of antidepressants. It also had an even longer-lasting effect.

The results have shown tremendous results. It even points out that there is a low potential for substance abuse. However, it is still considered a Schedule 1 Controlled substance.  This means it’s deemed illegal, has no approved medical benefit and has a high potential for abuse. With more research and scientists calling for reconsideration, this will change.

The History of Psilocybin From Ancient Times to Modern Uses

With what is known so far, psilocybin has more or less been used for similar purposes. To this day, people still use it to have spiritual experiences. Some to heighten their state of mind and connect with everything around them.

Nowadays, research has only added to the possible uses of these magic mushrooms.  Shrooms help people to open up and give them an out-of-body experience. It also becomes a possible source of medicinal treatment. But magic mushrooms are still viewed with so much stigma, despite the potential.

If the chronicle of shrooms was to teach us, it’s that those before us knew better. They know what they are doing by consuming these mushrooms.

For more information on Magic Mushroom history check this article: Hippies and the Psychedelic Movement: Exploring the Counterculture of the 1960s

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